Wed, Apr

To the Executive Producer Of The Grio Awards, Byron Allen


AN OPEN LETTER - I found the speech you made at The Grio Awards on 11/25/2023 to be the most coherent analysis of the impossible situation and reality Black Americans and others have had to deal with for the last 400 years. What also occurred to me is that with your wealth and clearly superior intellect that you might just be able to bring this travesty to an end once and for all by taking a successful and ingenious action first promulgated by Dr. Martin Luther King and apply it now to the yet segregated and racist public education system, that has at its core the premeditated purpose of assuring Blacks, Latinos, and others don't live up to their potential the way you have.

I draw your attention to the 1955 Selma – Montgomery bus boycott, where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat and go to the back of the bus, which was required of all Negroes. This segregated system stayed in place until Dr. Martin Luther King and others pointed out that 60% of the revenue received by the buses was generated by its Black ridership. So Dr. King and others in organizing the bus boycott, which not only brought to an end to this segregated bus system, but also served as a mechanism for organizing the Black community to take on other issues of inequity in the yet racist South. Just one example of how this worked was how more affluent Blacks with cars provided ride sharing service to their less affluent Black brothers during this bus boycott. And this interaction of various parts of the Black community helped organize the Black civil rights movement, while also getting help from those outside the Black community.

It is 69 years since the Supreme Court decided the Brown vs Board of Education case, which held that ''separate but equal education is inherently unequal” and therefore must be illegal and unconstitutional. And yet now in 2023 we are significantly more segregated than ever before with inner city school districts like LAUSD, and others like it around the country, being more than 90% Black and Latino, while Whites for the most part have escaped these bad inner city public schools for the suburbs with expensive private or charter schools, so they avoid public schools, which were in the past history of this and other countries, the many mechanism for creating an educated middle class.

Being educated to a large part is learning from the past. So what if you used the Selma-Montgomery bus boycott model to finally bring an end to segregated public schools by cutting off the money supply now generated by mere student presence in these yet segregated public schools by staging a boycott. This would cut off the money supply for corrupt school districts like LAUSD, that spend the money with “agreed vendors” on everything but educating students. And while parents- who themselves were a product of this current non-education system might be concerned about the safety of their children outside of school during school hours, it might be pointed out to them that teachers without student and other community members might be able to organize a temporary education program outside of school that actually dealt with individual students, where they were at grade level wise, instead of some grade that they have been arbitrarily socially promoted into for years without consideration of their actual level. 

And finally, what level of heaven on earth could we have, if we didn't have to spend excessive amounts of money on prisons, gangs, and other unnecessary expenditures dealing with the predictable bad actions of an uneducated and unproductive population.    


(Leonard Isenberg is a Los Angeles observer and a contributor to CityWatch. He was a second-generation teacher at LAUSD.)